Professors at Yale University are engaging in discussions about the implications and handling of artificial intelligence (AI) use in the classroom. With the increasing power and accessibility of AI platforms like ChatGPT, concerns have emerged regarding the potential indistinguishability of student work from that of AI. While some professors believe there is no immediate need for regulations, others see AI as a serious threat to classroom dynamics, causing potential hindrance to learning and intellectual growth.
In an email sent to faculty, University Provost Scott Strobel and Associate Provost for Academic Initiatives Jennifer Frederick acknowledged the rise of AI and encouraged faculty to understand its implications for teaching and research. The Yale College Undergraduate Regulations now include a note on AI, stating that adding AI-generated text without citation is considered a violation of academic integrity. However, the policy for using AI writing tools in class is left to the discretion of the instructor.
Gregory Huber, Chair of the political science department, expressed a sense of uncertainty among faculty, noting that while access to AI can assist with tasks, inappropriate use could be undesirable. Faculty are seeking a better understanding of how students are utilizing AI, and the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning has been instrumental in providing guidance. The center offers workshops and continually revises its recommendations to help instructors adapt their teaching to evolving AI technologies.
Alfred Guy Jr., Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs and Director of Writing and Tutoring at the Poorvu Center, stated that they do not intend to dictate how faculty should handle AI use in their classes. However, he expressed excitement about the collaborative potential of AI, highlighting the possibilities for students to create and learn in new ways.
Looking ahead to the fall 2023 semester, CS50, an introductory computer science class at both Yale and Harvard, introduced a new AI teaching assistant in the form of a chatbot. The AI chatbot is capable of answering student questions and offering hints to guide them towards finding the answers.
Despite concerns surrounding AI, Professor of Computer Science Brian Scassellati reassured professors not to panic, emphasizing that they have dealt with technological innovations in the past. However, Professor Paul Freedman expressed a stronger stance, believing AI to be more than a mere tool and predicting that it will profoundly impact course assignments, research, and the role of the researcher.
In conclusion, Yale University is engaging in discussions and taking steps to understand the implications of AI use in the classroom. While some professors believe regulations are unnecessary, others view the use of AI as a potential threat to learning and intellectual development. The Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning provides valuable guidance to instructors, and the university’s regulations now include guidelines on AI use in assignments. The future of AI in education remains dynamic, with ongoing workshops and discussions aimed at helping faculty adapt their teaching methods to leverage the benefits of this emerging technology.